Monday Muse offers a list of five recently read and recommended titles.
✭ The 13th Sunday after Pentecost: Poems (LSU Press, October 2016) by Joseph Bathanti ~ The subjects in Bathanti's excellent collection range over childhood in blue-collar Pittsburgh, parochial education, love of baseball, family relationships, steel strikes, stag films, the Cold War, and much more. Bathanti's narrative poems are akin to looking at the color stills from a fully documented life. Distinguished by the poet's eye for telling detail, down-to-earth language, and craft, they provide a richly rewarding read. A former poet laureate of North Carolina (2012-2014), Bathanti is a 2016 winner of the prestigious North Carolina Award.
Read my review of Bathanti's Concertina (2013).
✭ Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living (Penguin Random House, April 2016) by Krista Tippett ~ Becoming Wise draws from this master listener's life of conversation with some of the world's most accomplished and fascinating people to examine not only the challenges of life in this century but also to distill what Tippett calls the "basic aspects" governing our everyday relationships and ways of being: words, body, love, faith, and hope. Tippett's other books, which I also recommend, are Einstein's God (2010) and Speaking of Faith (2007).
✭ Hidden Figures (William Morrow/HarperCollins Publishers, September 2016) by Margot Lee Shetterly ~ Shetterly rescues the formerly untold stories of the African-American female mathematicians and engineers who worked at NASA in its earliest days, giving their enormous contributions a well-deserved place in the history of American science and technology. A movie based on the book is expected to be released in early January 2017.
Hidden Figures Website
The Human Computer Project
✭ The Sympathizer (Grove Press/Atlantic, 2015) by Viet Thanh Nguyen ~ This 2016 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, which also was awarded the 2016 Dayton Literary Peace Prize and other honors, fully lives up to its hype. It's the most absorbing fictional narrative I've read this year. Nguyen's next book is the short story collection The Refugees, due out in February 2017.
✭ Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy (Pantheon Books, August 2016) by Heather Ann Thompson ~ If you read only one nonfiction book this year, read this one. It's an extraordinary, deeply researched, definitive account of infamous and tragic events at Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York in 1971. I was both angered and profoundly shaken by the injustices Thompson lays bare and the state and federal governments' complicity in hiding the truth about what happened.